By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Record Setting Senior Night
Eleven senior cheerleaders and 26 senior players went out as winners on Friday night in Escalon, playing and performing for their final regular season game at home.

The Escalon Cougars varsity football team made it a memorable Senior Night, shutting out Hughson 37-0 and closing out the home campaign this year without allowing a single point.

No one scored on the Cougars at Engel Field, lifting 'home field advantage' to an entirely new level.

Pre-game ceremonies on Friday featured recognition for all players and cheerleaders, saluted at midfield with their parents, and in some cases grandparents and siblings as well.

For the senior players, they were very aware of the scoreless streak and had set the goal of shutting out Hughson to keep the streak intact.

"It's a great feeling," said senior JD Visser after the 37-0 score was final. "We worked hard all year long. To come out and get one last shutout on Senior Night, it's great."

Fellow senior David Pickhartz said the players became aware of the shutout streak on Thursday.

"Nijoel (Meyer) just said it yesterday," Pickhartz explained on Friday. "We realized it and we wanted that record so much, it felt so good."

Tackle and defensive lineman Jason Johnstad said the key was approaching each game the same way.

"We go out there and play like it's 0-0, we go to the whistle," he said of never letting up, regardless of what the scoreboard says. "It feels great and we just keep pushing for more, it's never enough."

Serving as one of this year's team captains, Travis Cardoza said there wasn't anything quite as sweet as making that scoreless statement against longtime rival Hughson.

"We just want to keep the tradition alive," Cardoza said of putting a successful team on the field. "We wanted to do something for this town, we want to make the town proud. A lot of the people know what we accomplished."

Head coach Mark Loureiro said even he was surprised to learn on Thursday night that the Cougars had not allowed a point all season at home. He said that shows the strength and depth of the team, as the second and third units also got playing time at home and did their part to maintain those shutouts.

Fullback and linebacker Steve Silva, who has put many of the points on the board for the Cougars, said it was a total team effort to get that shutout record.

"This year, it's unbelievable," he said of the team. "We come together every day, that chemistry we've got, it's just great."

Silva said the 2009 Cougars came out Friday night, fired up to get that final shutout at home, leaving a lasting impression.

"We came determined to end it this way," Silva said. "I've always wanted to leave a paw print behind."